Center for Metropolitan Studies

Re-Scaling Global Health. Human Health and Multispecies Cohabitation on an Urban Planet

Starting Date: 1.1.2023

Ending Date: 31.12.2025



Do we need a broader – more inclusive – understanding of cities if we want to tackle the challenges of Global Health? Yes, we do. In fact, we should extend our notion of the global to the planetary because the health of cities is inextricably tied to the health of the planet. In doing so, we also need to rethink cities as multispecies environments. Our consortium brings together an interdisciplinary team of urban scholars to work towards conceptualizing and empirically examining the complex relationship between human health,biodiversity and urban pollution through four thematic fields:

(1) Global/Planetary UrbanHealth

(2) The Health Effects of Biophilic Cities

(3) Cities and Infectious Diseases

(4) Urban Pollution and Multispecies Health.

We seek to advance a theory and practice of multispecies urbanism that views the environment not as a passive backdrop but as an active agent co-producing human health. Working with our transdisciplinary partners, we take on the imagination challenge of reconceptualizing urban health through a multispecies lens; and, we take on the implementation challenge by developing strategies for multispecies cohabitation with the ultimate goal of building healthier and more equitable urban futures.

The project is framed with four goals in mind:

(1) We will deliver in-depth case studies of seven cities—Berlin, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Nakuru, Perth, São Paulo, and Visakhapatnam – to explain the potentials and pitfalls of new biodiversity strategies for human health. These cities offer powerful case studies to analyze the global and post/colonial scale of urbanizations’ effects on human and more-than-human health.

(2) In close collaboration with our TDR partners in Berlin, we will deliver a platform (Living Lab) that brings together our researchers and non-academic partners for transdisciplinary modes of problem-framing, developing methods, and experimenting with practical solutions for urban health and multispecies equity.

(3) The project will center on a communication strategy that speaks to an international scientific community (lecture series & international conference) and also to a wider urban public (Living Lab & exhibition).

(4) We will offer research-based teaching and learning through seminars and field schools led by interdisciplinary tandems of PIs and postdocs.

Beyond the three-year funding period, we envision further research proposals by students (for dissertations), further doc and postdoc research projects in this area and also publications by the PIs, and policy and design interventions together with our TDR and international partners. We will also use the three years to collaborate with the other funded Grand Challenge Global Health projects to explore the creation of an Einstein Center for Global/Planetary Health (ECGPH) that creates a competitive platform for the inter- and transdisciplinary as well as international exchange about the challenges regarding (urban) global and planetary health.


List of PIs:

1. Prof. Dr. Dorothee Brantz, TUB (Co-Speaker)

2. JProf. Dr. Sandra Jasper, HU Berlin (Co-Speaker)

3. Prof. Dr. Jörg Stollmann, TUB

4. Prof. Dr. Ignacio Farías, HU Berlin

5. Prof. Dr. Jörg Niewöhner, HU Berlin

7. Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisel, FU Berlin

8. Dr. Tanja Straka, TUB

9. PD Dr. rer. nat. Sandra Junglen, Charité Berlin